IMHO continues our series of pre-Valentine’s day posts with the theme of “Why Smart Women (and Men) Read Romance.” Please welcome William Simon, professional cyber crimes investigator, as he gives his perspective on this topic. He knows whereof he speaks, as the manly Will is the former president of one of the local Houston-area Romance Writers of America chapters.
Just to remind you, I’ll be giving prizes away each day during the event from February 7 - 13, so be sure to leave a comment to be eligible. Please see my contest page for eligibility rules. If your name is chosen, you must claim your prize by e-mailing me at tjb @ tjbennett . com (no spaces) by February 14, 2010, or I will award it to someone else.
Today's I'm donating the prize of a $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble, so be sure to leave a comment for Will and tell him what you think about smart men who read (and watch) romance. Oh, and let's have another fun fact about romantic fiction, shall we?
Your naysayer sneers: "Hardly anyone reads romance. Most people read real books, like literary fiction."
Your response (statistics from Romance Writers of America pressroom): "Oh yeah? Well, romance fiction held the largest share of the consumer market in 2008 at 13.5 percent. And, dollar for dollar, romance fiction's $1.37 billion in estimated revenue for 2008 outdid all the following categories:
Religion/inspirational: $800 million
Mystery: $668 million
Science fiction/fantasy: $551 million
Classic literary fiction: $446 million
So, no matter how big the press is for literary fiction, more people enjoy a good romance (or a Bible). So there."
Now, on with the show.
You bet they do.
Some of the most romantic couples ever seen or heard of are in the so-called “male” orientated movies or books of the past few decades.
Don’t believe it? Think about it.
DIE HARD and DIE HARD 2: a lone policeman battles incredible odds and does what he has to do… all to rescue his wife. Blowing up a skyscraper or an airport means nothing. John McLane is not trying to save the world or stop Bad Guys; he really could care less. McLane is trying to save the woman he loves.
Nick and Nora Charles. Originally a one-shot novel, the first movie generated such interest an entire series of original stories was created. Married people can have fun, too, and while they’re at it, well, if they catch a killer or two along the way, what the heck. (TV detective couples Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, along with Remington Steele and Laura Holt, carried this genre several decades after. It will be interesting to see what happens now that we’re in 2010.)
Simon Templar, THE SAINT, as played by Roger Moore. Why did a character such as this, wealthy, no commitments, traveling the world, involve himself in matters dealing with murderers, psychotic blackmailers, stranglers, frauds? Without exception, it was to rescue a Damsel in Distress.
LAURA, both the novel by Vera Caspary and the film with Dana Andrews and the incomparable Gene Tierney. A woman is brutally murdered for no apparent reason; the detective investigating her death falls in love with her from her photos and diaries and letters. When it’s revealed she is still alive, they work together to find who wanted her dead. (The plot’s a little clichéd now, but when it first appeared it knocked people out of their chairs.)
REBECCA. Daphne DuMaurier’s novel was spellbinding; the film by Alfred Hitchcock was mesmerizing. The same people brought us THE BIRDS, which scared everyone. Hard to imagine both coming from the same minds.
One of the all time great romantic novels came and went without an eye-blink. BID TIME RETURN, by Richard Matheson. Matheson wrote other novels, such as I AM LEGEND, THE SHRINKING MAN, etc. This was a change of genre for him. A playwright dying of a brain tumor has an incredibly real hallucination of traveling almost one hundred years back in time to meet the woman of his dreams... Or was it a hallucination? Sound familiar? It was made into a small movie titled SOMEWHERE IN TIME. The disease was left out, the rest an incredibly faithful adaptation of the book; it stands today as one of the all time classics.
The list goes on and on. I’m sure anyone and everyone reading this has their own favorites.
Romance is everywhere. It’s not what we do that defines it; it’s how we do it….
Bio: William Simon is a licensed professional investigator dealing exclusively with computer forensics and electronic evidence, and is also a Past President of the North West Houston RWA chapter. He owns all the above named movies on DVD, plus a lot more.